FA Cup: side with the big boys


Trusting the fancied teams to do the business

The fifth round of the FA Cup takes centre stage this weekend as the competition’s remaining sides look to take a step closer to having their big day out at Wembley in the spring. Fans dream of packing out the national stadium in glorious sunshine, but who will 2017 smile on?

We have run through the ties and offer up our views on where the smart money goes, with £10 on our six-fold paying £103.40, with prices and returns correct at the time of publishing. There is the potential for a couple of upsets here, but we really don’t see it happening.

Burnley beat Lincoln

The visitors sum up what is great about this ancient competition, and just why fans can’t get enough. It’s the great leveller, with the trophy paying little interest to reputation, money in the bank or league position. But how can we oppose Burnley and their fearsome home form? They extended their unbeaten run with a draw vs Chelsea at Turf Moor last weekend, and get us going at 1/3.

Man City beat Huddersfield

The Terriers are holding their own in the Championship, and have every chance of going and gaining promotion to the top-tier this season, but the FA Cup remains the only piece of silverware City can win. They are second in the league, winning each of their last three, but trail Chelsea by eight points. Pep Guardiola will want to win a trophy this year, ensuring he gives this his full attention. We take City at 4/9.

Middlesbrough beat Oxford

What Boro wouldn’t do for a weekend away from their Premier League woes, and a win. Fortunately for fans, they have the perfect opportunity to achieve both here. Oxford are fast-becoming the upsetters of this year’s tournament, beating Newcastle in the last round, but that was at home and a trip to an opponent from the big league is very different. I’m taking Middlesbrough to open-up at 8/15.

Chelsea beat Wolves

The Blues haven’t put a foot wrong in this sphere so far and have been sending strong sides out in their previous matches. That proves manager Conte would love a crack at winning it and has every chance of pulling off a famous double this term. They are trusted against Wolves – who have lost each of their last three in the Championship – at 2/5.

Man Utd beat Blackburn

It is really difficult to go against Man Utd in their current shape, and really difficult to back Blackburn in theirs. Rovers have won just two of their last 10 Championship starts, while The Red Devils have won seven and drawn three of their last 10 in the level above. Coral offer 4/11 on the United win, and that’s massive.

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